Many thank yous are in order for the good outcome of our recent conference. First, we must thank those who attended, without whom it would not have happened. Second, we must thank our speakers, all of whom thoughtfully addressed the conference theme. Third, there were several staff and volunteers of Saint Benedict Center who put in many hours of hard work to make everything go smoothly. Without our bookkeeper (and jack of all trades), Russell LaPlume, it would not have been a success.
The talks are available. Here, for those interested, is an excerpt from my opening comments…
Opening Remarks for
the 2015 SBC Conference
Now, I could be wrong, but given our conference theme and the talk titles we’ve just listed, I do not expect much by way of “current events” to make its way into the talks. Therefore, I beg your indulgence as I touch upon a very current event that has gotten lots of attention in the Catholic press. It entails another gathering in another continent.
The talk emanating from the progressivists at the Synod concerning the so-called “penitential path” to Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried entails explicit denials of Catholic doctrine on three sacraments: Holy Matrimony, Penance, and the Eucharist. When we add to this the novelties going into effect this December in the already abused annulment system, we are witnessing an unprecedented trivializing of Holy Matrimony coming from the highest authority in the Church. That is all very bad news indeed.
All of this shows the devastating effects of two things at least: 1) a contemptuous attitude to Catholic tradition that makes an end run around dogma (whether that be under the pretext of a supposed “doctrinal development” or that of changing only the Church’s “pastoral practice” while giving lip service to irreformable doctrine), and 2) a false elevation of ecclesiastical authority over perennial doctrine.
We are not entitled to separate what God has joined together. There is a purpose to ecclesiastical authority, and it is to glorify God and save souls by faithfully transmitting tradition.
We should never tire of citing the words of Vatican I in this connection: “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in order that, by his revelation, they might disclose new teaching, but so that, by his assistance, they might devoutly guard the revelation handed down through the Apostles, the Deposit of Faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”
In the 1940’s, in Boston, Father Feeney’s Jesuit superiors, with Archbishop Cushing and Bishop Wright openly denied defined dogma, making the whole matter one of obedience, thus abusing that great virtue and twisting it into something it is not. When it was eventually realized that Catholics could not be convinced, at least not then, that defined dogma could not have been wrong and therefore outright denied, the subsequent attempts at making Father Feeney out to be the the bad guy were based on “doctrinal development,” and how the Church herself, in the persons of modern churchmen, supposedly interprets her own doctrines. Here, a heterogeneous doctrinal development was introduced, in flagrant violation of what Popes Leo XIII, Blessed Pius IX, and Saint Pius X had taught on the subject of doctrinal development.
Fast forward to today: now that numerous doctrines have been similarly “developed” out of existence, still others are being scuttled in the name of mercy and pastoral practice.
All we can do in such times is remain faithful and try to help others to be so. Which brings me to our conference theme. Bosses are sometimes known to say, when some employee offers a complaint, “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” This Conference is all about a solution, or, as we have it in the theme, not “solution,” but “remedy.”
Our theme this year is “Total Consecration to Mary: The Remedy for our Ills” …